Theme of the month

Theme of the Month

Join us each month as we focus on a topic of interest to STEM Teacher Leaders with a webinar panel, open
discussion, resources and blog post. 

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Join the Discussion: Race, Equity and Mathematics Education

In this facilitated discussion starting August 11th, we will move beyond a discussion of the achievement gap and instead focus on how best to promote African American student success, curiosity and engagement in mathematics. We invite your participation!

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One of my research interests is how elementary preserve and in service teachers see themselves as math experts especially the teachers who use successful pedagogical practices. African American elementary teachers are underrepresented as leaders of math education.  This may attribute to the lack of successful pedagogical practices being tried by many African American teachers. 

Wed, 07/22/2020 - 11:12 PM Permalink
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Welcome all to this important discussion... Now is the time, now is the place.  I was so incredibly moved by the life and death of John Lewis.  As I watched all the tributes come in, I was most moved by his forward thinking... by  his final words, "Ordinary people with extraordinary vision can redeem the soul of America by getting in what I call good trouble, necessary trouble."  That time is upon. us now... For our students....

My question is that of the webinar. discussion, what do you do in your own practice that promotes curiosity in students in mathematics?

I would love to hear your ideas! 

Wed, 08/12/2020 - 6:37 PM Permalink

One way I promote curiosity is by giving students problems that are challenging- so challenging that it will take them several weeks to solve. The challenges must also be fun.  Here are some math and art activities from Boaler's YouCubed site: https://www.youcubed.org/maths-and-art/. But, all the good problems in the world cannot replace the powerful pedagogy of an instructor who is committed to improving the mathematics learning of their students. 

Fri, 08/21/2020 - 7:40 PM Permalink
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Welcome to our continued discussion of equity and race in math. The vibrant conversation that we had in our break out group brought me back to the important concept of the language we use. One of the participants explained that a fellow teacher called a group of male black students, "my boys". What connotations does this draw in your mind? Did you go right to the negative thinking about this label, or was it  more positive? 

It is so important that we really explore and fine point the language we use. For me, a white teacher of mostly black and brown students, it is vital that all students know that I support them in all ways, and this can be reflected in the languageI use when I teach and when I support them. 

I can't wait to hear your thoughts on this idea! Enjoy the rest of your summer!

Thu, 08/13/2020 - 8:20 AM Permalink
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In reply to by Amy Bergeron

I am an Asian, teaching in a school with predominantly Hispanic, followed by almost an equal number of Black and White students.  There are some Asians also at the school.  I have been approached by some of them (the Asians) asking if others really care about them.  Comments about one's race is considered inappropriate for Black and Hispanic but Asians are fair game, even in the adult circles.  I really did not know how to address that except to involve everyone in any discussion.  It may seem that because Asians have a reputation of being smart and well educated, they can be ignored.  I understand that some races are under represented in certain arenas and over represented in others.  Kids are kids, people are people.  I found the same feelings from my son's college friends.  

I know this thread is about promoting African American student success, curiosity and engagement in mathematics.  So with that, rather than single out people in either direction, maybe the best thing is to find ways to support and promote each other within the confines of a classroom, which might, spill out into the world.

Tue, 09/01/2020 - 3:12 PM Permalink
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In reply to by Naveen Cunha

Thank you so much for continuing this discussion. I know exactly why you are saying. Language can affect us in so many ways. It is imperative for us to stop and think about how we use it. I hope you have a wonderful school year, whatever that may look like for you. 

Wed, 09/02/2020 - 1:51 PM Permalink
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Welcome back to this important discussion. As we continue the conversation around instructional practices in our classrooms, students' mathematics identity, and the racialized experiences of Black students we must continue to question our role and position in this fight. 

How have we and can we continue to fight against anti-blackness in our classroom? How can we and do we make space for Black students' experiences in our curriculum? What are the ways in which we have prioritized white middle class values over the needs of our students of color and how can we first acknowledge and begin to combat those norms?

I look forward to the continued conversation and collaboration. 

Thu, 08/13/2020 - 4:08 PM Permalink

One way to confront anti-Blackness in the classroom is by challenging perceptions of Black students as mathematics learners. Black students should be placed in positions of mathematical authority within the classroom. This re-positioning (done properly) changes how other students see Black students, which in turn has the potential to change how Black students see themselves. Lots of this begins with us as educators seeing/noticing/detecting the mathematical proficiency that Black students bring to the classroom- even when it does not look like the mathematical proficiency that we have been taught and trained matters. This takes a new kind of training so that we can have a new kind of noticing. 

Fri, 08/21/2020 - 7:32 PM Permalink
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Are there additional webinars this month? If so how do I access them?

Wed, 08/19/2020 - 8:39 AM Permalink
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In reply to by Meg Perron

Hi, Meg, 

   There is typically one webinar per month on STEMTLnet, associated with that month's Theme. The next one is being prepared and will be announced in a few days.  If you're a member of the site, you'll get an email announcement.  (The same is true for the STEM Multiplex multiplex.videohall.com -- sometimes the themes are shared between the two communities, but usually not.  Check out that site for other upcoming topics that you may find interesting.)

Thu, 08/20/2020 - 9:46 AM Permalink
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